It was great weather, a bit overcast, 60ish degrees and well - dark to begin with. We carpooled to the race to get good parking and arrived around 5:15. By 6:30 we were ready to go. We had all used the bathroom several times (you should have seen the number of port-a-johns!), checked our gear and were standing just feet from the start line. Okay - more like the start block. I have never seen anything like it.
They set up the start line in lettered segments they call corrals. You have a letter on your bib that matches where you should start. The idea is that the slower people start later than the faster people. So, we gathered into a corral (you can actually start anywhere - they don't check) and readied ourselves.
I was running with three of my Team Rise training buddies. This was awesome. It really helps the nerves you feel standing in the midst of 12K + runners to have three friends to stand there with you. Two of them had done this before which was even better.
10 minutes later we reached the actual start of the race. With all the electronics and interference, I quickly realized that my Pandora and Runkeeper apps were useless. Oh well. I did have some music on my iPhone but I hadn't really checked to see what. I ended up listening to Old 97's, Prayer Chain and Norah Jones. Not exactly running music, but it did keep me calm.
The race went well. We ran hard, laughed a lot and I stared wide-eyed at the craziness of it all. We ran shoulder to shoulder, dodging other racers for the first 3 miles. We all agreed that this was good distraction. One of the gals kept close track of the time and we found that we were ahead of our pace quite a bit. A good way to start!
As we headed into mile 5, one of my running buddies decided to actually run now. That was the last I saw of her until the end. She is nearly 10 yrs older than me and is an amazing athlete! Kathy, Christine and I stuck together nearly to the end. We kept each other going, we talked when we needed distraction, we kept quiet when we were too tired to breathe. I was amazed at how much their support carried me through.
The last mile was tough. Kathy sped up to try to beat her goal. Christine and I stuck together until she sped ahead. I just tried to keep upright.
With a finish time of 2:08, I ended up ahead of my best ever pace and loved every minute of it! Best of all, I was able to raise well beyond my goal of $2000 and really make a difference for Angola!
I'm happy to let you know that someone has offered to match every donation from now until the Chicago Marathon up to $50,000! Please donate now if you haven't yet. It'll go twice as far!
Go Team Rise! We still have a large team running the Chicago Marathon on October 7th!